Saturday, April 30, 2005

says who?

daddy lloyd, where did u learn that news? duwa na ugbon ni dennis?haen man an "ibidinsya?"...hehehe, ipa-post mo din-hi!


Picture Please

I can't bebieve it. Si Dennis two kids lamang pa sakon.
Can we see some picture naman padi?

posted by: daddylloyd

Friday, April 29, 2005

OLPS 59th Alumni Homecoming:Tiripon ngun-a para sa sisenta

By: Fire Sr. Insp. Renato Badong Marcial

(Originally published in Sorsogon Today on October 6, 2004)

“There’s no place like home!” as the saying goes; truly , one could never get tired of reminiscing the happy days spent in a place that is so unique and considered to be his second home.

I am referring to the Our Lady of Peñafrancia Minor Seminary or OLPS, located at Bibincahan, Sorsogon City.

This institution, which we considered as our home when we were still seminarians, was instrumental in molding our lives. Like a home, our formators were our foster parents who strictly adhered to the motto “Ora, stude at labora,” in order for us to become prayerful, studious and workaholic persons, thereby preparing us to become servants of Christ in the near future.

Given another chance of choosing any institution in high school to enroll in, I would definitely not hesitate to enter the OLPS! Looking back, our experiences inside the seminary in a way had taught us and prepared ourselves to confront whatever challenges that lay ahead of us, and practically helped us manage our lives not only as a priest, a bachelor as well as an ideal family man.

The preparation inculcated to us in the seminary made us discern the very meaning and essence of our existence; thus, while inside the seminary, we mustered courage to explore our capacity as a person and sometimes tested our limits.

Some of our co-seminarians developed the art of survival; they scoured for food everywhere: inside the dorm, at the kitchen and in the refectory at the back of the seminary (where so many fruit-bearing trees grew, live chickens wandering around), and even in the sacristy!

Until now, I am still wondering why seminarians during our time, (or shall I say even to this day?) were always hungry!

Leadership is also one of the qualities that we learned inside; while we became responsible individuals, tending our beddings and other personal things, we were also given the responsibility to look into the welfare of our younger brothers, as we implemented the ruling class system.

The beadle, with his tiger looking image and scrutinizing eyes, together with his classmates, would always see to it that the policies and guidelines of the seminary were properly being followed. With the said “powers” laid down upon them by the rector, you could easily identify those seminarians who would qualify to be a future dictator! Thank God, no one turned out to be one; in fact, they are now good leaders in their own right.

Different strokes for different folks from different walks of life; different culture, different attitudes; everyone was different.

But by chance, these young individuals were chosen, gathered and molded in the same institution – shared their individuality, developed the art of intellectual argument, interrelationship with others, practiced the way of politics, freedom of expression (being a musician, philosopher, inventor, scientist, athlete, escape artist, weirdo, ninja, shaolin, etc.). You name it, we had it, and we turned out to be one of a kind!

What I mean is: we all experienced those things as we evolved like brothers inside the seminary home. There were endless experiences that could be retold by one who was once a part of that prestigious institution, and I believe everything that happened to us in OLPS has something to do with what we are now as a person.

Next year, our dear alma Mater, the Our Lady of Peñafrancia Seminary is turning 60, and the OLPS Alumni foundation, Inc. has finalized this year’s homecoming on October 16, 2004, (Saturday) at the OLPS minor seminary; this is in order for all of us to attend and contribute our plans for the next year’s big celebration.

This is therefore our chance to meet once again our “sano”, our contemporaries, and start reminiscing those unending stories of our times.

One of the very important data needed is to establish the directory of each one who was part of the seminary: meaning, if you graduated or officially enrolled in the OLPS even for an hour, then you are one of us!

The OLPS Batch’87 has also appealed to the officers of the alumni association in the institutionalization of the OLPS yearly alumni homecoming, which was unanimously approved, so that every year, all of us shall look forward to this grand activity.

Below is the program of activities for our homecoming. Please do come home!
8:00 a.m. - Registration (OLPS Minor)
9:00 a.m. - Motorcade (from OLPS to downtown)
11:00 a.m. - Mass (Seminary Chapel)
12:00 noon – Lunch(Refectory); per Batch/Class shall bring
their own food
1:30 p.m. – Business Meeting (Auditorium)
4:00 p.m. – Games (Basketball, Billiards, Lawn/Table Tennis)
6:30 p.m. - Fellowship, with live band (Auditorium)

more! more!

uy, we're getting more and more people posting--great! gerald and bambet (ikaw ba talaga yon? wow, sound off more, classmate!) and goja and jet and junie, tsalamat! bisita kamo always! dennis says he's gonna post soon, too. now, let's hope rey and joven get our emails and maglaog man digdi. totep and ojee, bisihunon kamo ta i haven't seen you here? asus, ribok na ngaya, mga kuya! :)

that's ning paras-marcial and tato, the wife-and-husband tandem who wrote the pair of wonderful articles below. and that's gerald, co-hosting the december 2004 reunion as "president" of the batch. :) Posted by Hello
hehe, four were chosen and one was, well, corrupted. :) fr. vicboy, fr. glenn, fr. henry, si ako and fr. burt (an adopted member of batch87), college freshmen at the coke building and newly invested with the sutana and roquete. looking holy! :) Posted by Hello

new link

mga pards, i've added the Batch86 site to the Links list (see the right side of this site), so you may want to check out their pics and posts also. we grew up with these guys (sometimes not very harmoniously, haha--but we're all old enough now) so their photos and stories will no doubt also help us remember and celebrate the good old days. to junie and jet and eric g. and all those who keep the batch86 blogspot alive, mabuhey! :)


Thursday, April 28, 2005


wow, tato and ning, this is wonderful! otats, am so impressed and proud of you. parang kailan lang, magkaiping kita sa chapel praying our evening prayers and you were reading "oblivion" as "oblivation." ngunyan you're writing long essays! parang kailan lang, naglalapigot kita sa modeling assignments sa english class ni fr. lino rosero. ngunyan, you write so well and so clearly. oragon to the nth power! thanks too, ning, for that touching article. teary-eyed ako. now i know where to go in my old age, mwehehe! do encourage the other wives to post. everyone's welcome here!... and good news: dennis son has emailed me back! so pretty soon, i expect him to be posting here too. and rey also, na tinawagan ko sa US at 12 midnight their time. namuraw-murawan baga si rey, hahaha. let's keep 'em coming, batchmates!



“You come alive each time you dare to die, let go, move on, bid things goodbye.”

A member’s perspective by Renato Badong Marcial
(originally published in Sorsogon Today)

There could never be a group of people who once crossed paths, shared their dreams, laughter and tears, and emerged like blood brothers seventeen years after. I am referring to these young but not-too- old gentlemen who belong to Batch ’87 of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia Minor Seminary (OLPS), and I am proud to say that I am one of them.

The uniqueness of our brotherhood could be obviously noticed, especially during a get together (which we never fail to have, as if we always miss each other’s company) where each of us would eagerly share our experiences or whatever lessons of life that we think too important or worthy of sharing. But mostly, we end up laughing to our heart’s content as we reminisce our high school days in the seminary.

Looking back, we were then thin and gawky creatures from different walks of life, bolted from different towns of the province of Sorsogon, and who, by fate, were brought together after passing the entrance examination and other “predetermination” processes conducted by our OLPS formators, which signaled whether or not we were ready to serve God.

Initially, 31 young boys were chosen (as we were always made to believe then, the seminary’s dictum was: “Many are called, but few are chosen”), but unluckily, only 25 of us survived the four painstaking years of formation period through honing and discerning whether we were indeed those chosen few who would respond to the call of our vocation.

I remember that from the moment we were brought together, we could almost feel each other’s closeness and inseparability. In our junior year, we even came to the point of unanimously defying our senior seminarians’ policy of implementing the OLPS rules and regulations, just to prove to them how strong our bonding was. We were so vocal about our opposition to some policies which we thought were insignificant to our vocation, as if we knew everything as far as vocation and priesthood was concerned, the reason why our rector, then Rev. Fr. Francisco P. Monje, could not fathom our ideals. Only now did I realize why the latter would always tell us “Ingugulo-gulohan ako saindo!” No, not because we were cute boys then, but because we were so hardheaded, causing the good Fr. Monje to always blow his top.

I, too, remember when graduation day was about to unfold; we, the Batch’87, agreed to have a covenant that all of us 25 young boys would prove them wrong about their expectations and assessment of us. A childish agreement, if I may say now, for as if we were the ones designing our future. We agreed to make a difference in the history of OLPS: that all of us would pursue our vocation, and, in one ceremony, be ordained priests. By God’s mercy, only three of us went on to become priests!

There were so many things that we experienced in the portals of OLPS: lessons of life, struggles of friendship, and the essence of our existence. I’m sure each one of us will always treasure those things. While we never get tired of retelling those memories that we have gone through during our high school days, those once-in-a-lifetime experiences transformed us from once innocent, thin and awkward young boys to the mature, experienced and wiser adults (some already family men) that we are now.

Oh, we still show our child-like ways sometimes when we’re together, but that’s because we know that with each other, we don’t have to put our best foot forward nor put up a front. Batch ’87 members will always be accepting of one another’s weaknesses and inadequacies. Our bonding had become so intense as we were growing up - like that of blood brothers – and no amount of outside pressures can loosen or break this common tie.
We had our mistakes, brought by our youthful indiscretion and carelessness, but we certainly learned from them. The most important thing is: the brotherhood continues, and definitely will last our lifetime. And even beyond.

A Batch ’87 wife’s point of view by Agnes M. Paras – Marcial

If there are two things that I can say about this batch, it is that: first, they always find a reason to hold reunions, with or without occasion, whether only two or three can make it; and second, regardless of the occasion, they all end up talking about themselves and their high school days, always and without fail!

Seriously, they may be individuals very much different from each other in so many ways, but definitely, these dissimilarities are not a reason for them not to gel and form a lifelong bond.

I was first welcomed into the Batch ’87 fold in February of 1992, the year my then future husband introduced me to his high school friends as his girlfriend; months before that, I had already met some of them (a few of them were actually my elementary classmates in Colegio de la Milagrosa). Little did I know then that I would permanently be in contact with this group.

From that time on, my life had already gone through three phases, almost all spent with this by-now already familiar set of my husband’s HS buddies: single-blessedness, early married life with one kid, and married life with three kids.

I’ve passed through those stages and have seen their loyalty to and friendship with one another not diminished even a bit. We were together as single professionals in the prime of our youth enjoying the fruits of our labor – dined out, went to movies, gimmicks, etc. Been there, done that, so to speak.

Those carefree days are over, and almost half of these once untroubled and happy-go-lucky men have turned into involved and responsible husbands and fathers. Well, some are still enjoying their life as bachelors, but they are in constant touch with the group and join the reunions that are, this time, littered with children that come in all shapes and sizes and unique temperament! Hey, from whom did the kids get the latter? J

Expectedly, everyone is a ninong (and the wives, ninang) to each other’s offspring. In fact, they made this pact when they were all still single that each one would automatically become a ninong to any first-born child in the batch.

Now, after all these years, what good things came out of this already-tested friendship, absolute loyalty and both-in-good-times-and-bat-times-comradeship?

To mention only two: first, is that the batch has a support group to confide in and run to, aside from family members, whenever they have problems; and second, their wives and children benefit from this rare kind of closeness and camaraderie.

For the core group of the batch (meaning: those living in Sorsogon), this transforms into each member possibly doing things for each other’s family. Thus, it wasn’t surprising when Tato took Totep’s daughter Joseanne to the pediatrician while her father was confined in the hospital and another batch mate, Jay, watched over Totep, together with the latter’s wife, Janet.

The most important thing of all is that, during reunions (be it in a batch member’s house, in a rented cottage near the beach, or anywhere!), the children are brought together, and at such an early age, they get exposed to the very enriching experience of forging lifelong friendships. Our kids know each other and are “kuyas” and “ates” to each other. They play, watch TV together, and even fight with each other! And the wives? They are probably almost as united now as the husbands are!

Thus, without meaning to, the Batch ’87 members have passed on to their wives and children a very special legacy more precious than gold: the gift of friendship. To quote a text message I recently received: “Every good friend is a glimpse of God. He is one of life’s best blessings, a priceless gift that can never be bought, sold or forgotten.”

I’d like to especially mention that three members (Fr. Henry , Fr. Vicboy , and Fr. Dandy ) made it as priests and did the job of pursuing a religious vocation for the rest of the batch. One batch mate, Glenn Vergara, is still in the seminary, hoping to make the number of priests in the batch rise to four. Two are abroad (Dennis Son in Illinois and Rey Nicolas in New Jersey), but make it a point to reunite with their high school allies whenever they’re home in Sorsogon. Gilbert Cadiz, a personal friend long before I’d met the rest of the batch and whose writing style never fails to impress me, has expectedly taken writing as a career and is now with the Lifestyle section of The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Chito Haboc had already joined his Creator, but definitely, he will forever be in the hearts of his batch mates.

There’s a lot to be thankful for to the Lord Almighty for this exceptional gift of camaraderie. And the batch is hoping for more years of happy togetherness with their families. Indeed, it’s been 21 years since the members of Batch ’87 first got together as high school classmates in the hallowed halls of the OLPS. 21 years! And counting……
still another pic from our first-ever recollection. i think si ian 'yan na bent over his journal, while dennis is at the foot of the tree, and si fr. glenn baya yaan na nakasangkat sa sanga? :) Posted by Hello
HARAWAN! that inescapable afternoon rite before games, showers and evening prayers. remember this courtyard right in the middle of the seminary's main complex leading to the grotto? hehe, erwin, nadudumduman mo pa that night na pinaluhod kita ni bro. pj sa may tigbak na puno diyan sa tunga? :) Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

si glenn tabi ini...

hello batchmates! at last may contact na kita (aside from the yearly reunions/gathering na once lang ako naka-attend! huhuhu!). thanks a lot kay gibbs. kudos! sa concert you sponsored recently... nabalitaan ko... successful daw sabi ni gibbs... kaya lang may comment sya, hehehe! sa amin na lang ba yun? hhhmmmmm.... great pics! enjoy ako sa reminiscin.... kaya lang kulang pa... damo-damo ata an nakatago pa sa baul ni tato.. haha! kidding. miz u guys.... para kay gibbs, na-contact mo ba joseph cruel? kaw ha.... hehe.

ako lang tabi ini,

tato says... (posted from "comments")

yo...just trying my pa-extra!..hehehe...better watch out guys pag na ipost na mga pix ta..sorry gibbs i used ur user name kanina, anyway here's mine luki boy daghanon an mga pix sadto, magayon kunta ma-i-post man, kaso, knowing luki boy..cguro lets wait for a century by that time posted na..hehehe!


panalo ang linggo ng wika pic!

hahaha, grabe, sumakit tiyan ko sa kakatawa sa linggo ng wika pic! panalo!

erwin e.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

so here we are now--december 2004 reunion at the auditorium of tato's criminology school (hanep na si otats!). the early birds: fr. vicboy, fr. glenn, ojee, ako, erwin, gerald and joey. soon to arrive: fr. henry, totep, gary boy, jay and the dear wives and gf. nobody got drunk. wow, mature na talaga kita, mga padi! :) Posted by Hello
the newly ordained fr. glenn vergara taking his turn at the mike. o ha! and the wives are present too!  Posted by Hello
tato, gerald, fr. vicboy and fr. henry. karuruyag baga paghilingon, ha? :) Posted by Hello
''look for me in yaHOO!,' sabi nga ni gary boy! Posted by Hello
taking a break from the intense rehearsals for ''ang paglilitis ni mang serapio'. we wowed 'em, didn't we? :) there's cacky boy in green shirt, left side katabi ni rey. hilinga baya si jong (right, sitting), naka-off-shoulder! wahahaha! :) Posted by Hello
HAHAHA! the one linggo ng wika celebration the seminary can never, ever forget! si fr. henry, majorette na samhud an dara! and the assistants are ian (with matching tassel earring), si gary boy (mwahaha, di ko kaya itu!) at si ojee (lintian na itum!). and the cast--hayup! gerald and joven, tato, that's cho and dandy in muslim attire with matching umbrella, and glenn and dennis draped in fr. gerry's kumot and kurtina! jozkopong pineapple, this picture is killing me! :0 Posted by Hello
our very first recollection, first year HS. there's mervin hael and tyrone tan (in green and white shirt) of batch 86, and beside fr. monje, chito, dandy, rey and eric fuentes. i'm not sure if that's me beside rey at the back, katabi ni gabby lagamayo ata. :) Posted by Hello
if i remember right, kuwa ini during the BAMS meet at st. gregory the great seminary in tabaco, albay. uy, look at sammy, inosentihunon pa! and there's chito below henry, still very much alive. the rest: rey, linus, dennis, glenn, erwin and joey. fuerte! :0  Posted by Hello
ian and glenn and lloyd and leo and jay and linus and joseph, first year high school! :) Posted by Hello

Monday, April 25, 2005

CLASS OF 1983 (Recollections of a charmed life by the boy in a young man)

By Gibbs Cadiz
Originally published in The Aquinian Folio, December 1990

I NEVER PLANNED to enter the seminary. My best friend in Grade 6, who had a friend whose brother was a seminarian, talked me into it. We both listened to tales of how good it was to be inside, how delicious the food was (chicken every Sunday), how excellent the academic standards. And so that summer of 1993 we bravely took the tough entrance exams with sixty other boys, and passed.

Partly because I had never been to many places outside of my home before, the remoteness of the seminary fascinated me. The tricycle took about 4-6 minutes from the town to its gates, but to my young mind then it seemed like forever.

When my mother finally left me alone at the place, I stood awkwardly at the lobby, looked around--and knew I was hooked. The grass was lovely and verdant in the wide rolling plains, and the great expanse of the sprawling buildings looked simply awesome. There were bewildering stairs and rooms and nooks and crannies to get accustomed to, not to mention the strange little faces that floated all around me.

Those strange little faces turned out to be my new classmates. We were supposed to be 30 new additions to the family. I recognized my best friend, and six other contemporaries from elementary school. The rest were absolute strangers.

That evening Father Rector introduced us one by one to the community amid a terrifying cacophony of catcalls and jeers. Everybody's way of testing our insides, I suppose. And that first night away from our homes, we were so homesick half of us wept in bed and couldn't sleep. The next morning, the loudest sniffler was the most popular boy around. To this day, however, he adamantly denies ever wetting his pillows with his tears.

Also that first week, two boys tearfully backed out and begged to be returned home. The Rector had to use all his persuasive powers to convince the incosolably homesick pair to stay, but in vain. In later years, we still diminished until we were down to 25.

EVENTUALLY, THOUGH, we got used to the place and to one another.

We quickly found out that not everything was as good as the stories. There was no chicken every Sunday (the food, relatively good at first, slowly deteriorated), the enjoyment was tempered by much hard work, and the life was supremely monotonous. Every activity was on schedule, and every schedule was a rigid affair. To walk from the chapel to the refectory (that's the dining room for you), or from the study hall to the chapel, meant walking in two straight lines--no deviations allowed. The beadle's voice would roar out over the lines: "Lopez, your line! Angeles, look straight ahead!"

In those days, the beadle was the law. He was the right-hand man of the priest-formators, and he could even recommend the expulsion of students. The mere widening of his eyes reduced us to trembling lambs. It was only years later that we found out the man was also a frequent lawbreaker. He smuggled drinks and erotica into his locker, for example. But ever conscious of his responsibility and respectability, he and his classmates gorged on the contraband only after we'd begun snoring in our sleep. The sneaky little devils...

As for the class, we quickly found out that we we stuck with each other--for better or for worse. The first time we gathered together to vote for our class beadle, the noise was so overpowering that higher authorities had to intervene. The community beadle himself had to direct the proceedings. We were able to elect our own leaders, all right, but thereafter, we never enjoyed a reputation for good behavior or restraint.

It was shortly after this that the little demons in us began to pop out, to the chagrin of the priests. A small, loose clique of boys soon formed themselves and began wreaking mayhem on things. They were the rowdiest, most uninhibited adolescents in our class. Their first formal pronouncement of existence was to hang a smelly sock atop a fluorescent lamp one tumultuous afternoon when the Match teacher couldn't get her figures and her charms up.

We shrieked in delight at the floating apparition, but our teacher was outraged. She stormed out of the classroom towards the library, eyes brimming with hateful tears, and proceeded to execute a maidenly faint.

As punishment for our Act That Stank, the rector grounded us that evening in the cavernous auditorium with no lights and a delayed supper. We were deeply contrite in the darkness, but then again, we enjoyed the respite from the schedule so much that some of us blissfully slept and some thought the punishment was great, after all.

THE SYSTEM of discipline in the seminary was all about punishment. There were no rewards. It was reformatory in character, however much our formators protested against the word. In his endless sermons to us, the Rector cautioned us not to think of the seminary as a place where misfits were sent over to be refined and reshaped. With great passion, he would explain to us over and over the seminary's mission as a preparatory ground for future servants of God. Our roles in it, he said, were by far nobler, by far higher than going to a mere finishing school for boys.

To our ears, then, those words seemed like the Niagara, or perhaps the rushing of the tides. To me, particularly, it sounded like some choral society belting Handel's Messiah seven octaves higher. After such grand rhetoric, we would slink to our beds tingling with wonder and awe, our faces alive with the majesty of God and the mysteries of the Church. Yet in truth we understood so little. It would take years, and perhaps God's grace, for us to understand.

At any rate, the perception stuck. Among parents especially, the seminary was THE place for their growing pack of boys, the blessed spot where miracles still happened. Else how explain the transformation of their kids from unruly ruffians to little gentlemen?

That transformation required nothing less than for us to breathe, eat and sleep discipline every day for four long years. We had to kneel down (sometimes with arms outstretched) the moment we were late for any activity. We had to work on the grounds every week, clearing rubbish, cutting cogon, hauling off boulders, rearranging plots, burning compost until our eyes went all bleary from the smoke. (In our third year, a new Prefect of Discipline even decreed that one instance of tardiness was equivalent to 2 meters of land to be cleared of vegatation. Some incorrigible seminarians clocked 4-5 "lates" a week!)

Rotating house assignments also gave us large areas to clean, and no recreation was allowed until after they had been thoroughly scrubbed. We were never permitted to walk in slippers, trousers or sando (undershirt) in town. We had to wear socks and shoes always. Comic books, liquor, cigarettes were absolute prohibitions. And certainly no disco.

At an age when we were full of youthful outrage at authority and rigidity, we saw the rules as silly and unnecessary. Our class, all adolescents, was naturally rebellious. We spent hours whining over these cruel and oppressive straitjackets. Everybody was so 'unjust' (our favorite word): the priest who fined us P1 for every non-English word we uttered, the teacher who chastised us for not paying enough attention to the lesson, the beadle who beat us for straying out of line (the beating consisted of three knocks in the head).

Nowadays, of course, we laugh at our immaturities and marvel at the childishness of our coming-of-age years. But that's what reunions are for--a time for great laughs and some fair amount of cringing over the good old days.

WHEN I WAS in third year, I was religiously reporting to my parish church during once-a-month home visits and summer vacations. My best friend and I and another classmate usually served the 7:30 a.m. mass on Sundays. One balmy morning, just before mass, we were so engrossed with our chatter that we forgot all about the time. The boy acolyte, the one we had so airily dismissed just a few minutes ago, came running and announced, with barely hidden glee, that the priest was already marching down the aisle.

We ended up running after the priest by passing at the side of the altar, the whole congregation meanwhile chuckling and staring at our faces that alternately turned red, white and purple in extreme embarrassment. Had the world ended that very instant, we would have been glad.

It was clearly one instance when we were made acutely aware of the fragility of the image people had about us seminarians. Pious folk in our province liked to think we were a breed apart, a special progeny meant for holy responsibilities. Kids, yes, but we had a sort of respectability to live up to. Our formators drummed to us the same thing, explaining why we had to conduct ourselves well at all times.

But to many of us this was sheer baloney. We felt we weren't any more different from the rest of the boys in other schools. We wanted to think we were the same, because we wanted the same youthful freedoms and choices and adventures. We failed to explain, however, why we felt guilty whenever we walked down the highway in less-than-appropriate attire, or why we scampered away immediately the moment we found ourselves near a moviehouse with Maria Isabel Lopez garishly painted on its billboards. We felt uneasy with the simple strolls. We felt there were eyes looking at us, recognizing us as a "seminarista." And how we wished we were a little less uptight, and more anonymous.

BY THIS TIME we were no more the naive, guileless little chaps that we had been when we entered the seminary. The vagaries of the adult world were starting to creep in. On clear, silent nights when everything had settled to a deathly stillness, footsteps would shuffle in our dorm, followed by the clinking of glass. Four ghostly shadows would flit to a corner, sharing smuggled rhum with one ear cocked to the tell-tale jangling of the Rector's keys. One or two would surreptitiously unfold erotic literature, trying to read by feeble flashlight.

Indeed, we were growing up so fast. Every young girl within view became an object of awe that, in one of our unthinking moments, somebody suggested we create seminary history by holding a prom night (with invited partners). Naturally, our suggestion was turned down. Once more we griped that it was so "unjust."

At the same time, however, that we began to feel the pressures of the world, we were also increasingly drawn to the prospects of a life for God. The silence and the contemplation were having their effect, and we began to feel, in the most inscrutable quiet of moonless nights when we went out to the grotto and talked about our futures, that God might indeed be calling all of us 25 classmates to be His priests. We sincerely felt we had the seed of vocation (why else were we inside, after all?), and most of us, despite the trivial sinning and the occasional doubts, took real pains to nurture the spark.

While many of us entered the seminary thinking we would come out lawyers and surgeons and plain dads in the end, now we started fantasizing of a common ordination day--25 new priests in one blow! We knew it was a pipe dream, because from the seminary's experience, only one or two would end up getting ordained from a class our size. Nevertheless, the occasion was one more occasion for bonding among young boys who shared the anxieties of a grown-up future. One way or another during those days, everyone of us personally thought of climbing God's mountain and proving ourselves His worthy mountaineers.

And with this kind of pious optimism, everything that tempted us astray reeked of the devil. We knew there was something devilish in all the drinking and the smoking and the lying that we did, but we tried to rationalize them as momentary pleasures, harmless diversions.

Along the way, by the time we bacame seniors, we had become very close to one another. It was during our senior year that we developed and starred in so many stage productions that we felt audacious enough to organize a local theater company. We spent countless nights perfecting "Pasko Na, Sinta Ko" in four voices, simply because we thought we were mighty good singers and our voices blended beautifully (it didn't occur to us to get an outside opinion). In our younger years, we usually hid food from other hungry eyes (the bishop once called our community "bottomless pits"), but this time, most everything was shared. And with the grievances of a few, we outrageously staged mini-revolts against our formators.

At the height of our rebelliousness, we crawled at midnight to a certain dormitory for a secret meeting by candlelight, careful not to wake up other people, and began plotting how to strike back. Walking out of the seminary gates the following morning in full view of the community gathered for flag ceremony was a dramatic option. But then, tragedy. Morning came, and some members of the batch got into a petty shouting match with a fellow seminarian, which attracted everyone's scrutiny. That promptly broke our moral high horse. It was a blow to our pride. For days on end we rued our frailties and missed opportunities.

JUST BEFORE graduation, we had our last class retreat together, and the retreat master gave us this altogether remarkable observation. "We should be honest with ourselves," he said. "If we end up loving a girl, for example, and feel that God has designs for us other than the priesthood, then by all means let His will be done. You don't love God less just because you happen to love a girl, do you?"

Apparently, a great many of us in the batch took that advice a little more closely to heart. Because just over three years after completing high school, only six have remained inside to pursue the priesthood. (So much for mass ordinations.) But these guys might as well have the hearts and minds of their other nineteen batchmates!

As for the rest, we have scattered to different places, but are in close contact with each other most of the time. We hold reunions thrice a year--ridiculous by any stretch--and when we meet, happily mellowed now by time and a little more maturity, we revert to the riotous boys we've always been, bound by a friendship made special by those unique bonds: four sheltered years of shared hardships, joys and adolescent experiences. The best years of our lives, in a place unlike any other on earth.

Ah, the Kingdom of Heaven!
okay, one more test pic, mwehehe. that's me in front of the ho chi minh mausoleum in hanoi, vietnam. semi-kalbo pa ako. :) the entrance to the mausoleum is at the back. super-strict ang guards -- bawal ang shades, ang sleeveless shirts, at crossed arms across the chest (which you do kasi the chamber that displays uncle ho's perfectly preserved body is ice-cold). nasita ako ng guard sa loob!  Posted by Hello
hehe, test pic lang po. taken during my recent trip to guangzhou, china (with 3 other media people). we're at beijing road, the city's version of greenhills. goods are super mura because almost everything you see in tiangges in the philippines comes from china, and guangzhou is the country's premiere manufacturing hub. the knitted pull-over is to ward off the cold. it's 12 noon when this photo was taken, but the temperature was 4-7 degrees celsius. brrrr! Posted by Hello

okay, how to post pics

okay, here's how to post pics:

1. once inside the batch 87 site, look for the FRAME icon present at the end of any photo caption (like the one in my pic above), and click on it. this will bring you to the Hello Bloggerbot site. Hello is a software that allows you to post pictures to our site.
2. follow the instructions on how to download the software right up to the end. don't worry, the file is small and the instructions are easy. in no time at all, like me, you'll be posting your pics on our site. remember, type in username batch87, and text me at 0917-8404173 for the password.
3. baka lang makalimutan niyo, the pics have to be in digital form, so have them scanned first and saved either on your pc's hard disk or on a cd.
4. post na! :) GIBBS

we're online! how to post blogs

hi batchmates! guess what? i finally figured out how to get a blog up, so here it is--the batch '87 site ( start posting, everyone--stories, jokes, notes, messages to other batchmates, pictures (especially the old ones!). calling on ian and the rest, do have your pictures of our batch scanned and uploaded here. mine is still with cho--pssst, please return my album's worth of photos, sayang yuon pagparatagoon sa baul! by the way, batch 87 wives and kids are part of this online home too, so let's have all those cute faces up. here's how you may start posting:

1. click on BLOGGER at the upper left side of the page, which will bring you to the host's main page.
2. to sign in, you will be asked for the username and password. type in batch87, and text me at 0917-8404173 for the password.
3. signing in brings you to the Dashboard page. just click on the highlighted OLPS Batch '87 link to go to the website, or to post a new message, click on NEW POST (the one with the green cross underneath).
4. type your message. don't forget to write your name at the end, click the PUBLISH POST link at the bottom, and you're done!

welcome to our new online home, klasmeyts! :)


just testing

just a test to see if this works...